Double take

Driving developments: Gulf ports, such as Sohar (pictured), Khalifa and Musaffah, have forged ahead with construction projects to expand capacity.
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Upper Gulf keen to secure its share of region's port business with additional terminals planned to serve the north

To capitalise on booming cargo volumes coming out of the Middle East Gulf,Abu Dhabi has plans to build not one, but two new ports in the Emirate. One will be at Khalifa in Taweelah,which is 40km from Abu Dhabi city.Investment of $1.7bn has been earmarked for this project,which will absorb operations at Port Zayed within the next five years.

The second new port, which is scheduled to become operational by 2009, will be located at the industrial township of Musaffah. Royal Haskoning Consultants has already been asked to undertake a feasibility study for a facility capable of handling 5m-9m tonnes of industrial cargo annually.Not only will the consultant estimate how long it will take to make a return on any initial investment, but will also have to calculate a projected timetable for volume build up and suggest a phased expansion programme to deal with this.

Also under analysis is whether to upgrade the existing channel to Musaffah (route A) or create a new channel (route B) based on the size of vessel that will probably make use of the port infrastructure in the longer term.

At the far end of the Arabian Gulf, Kuwait is to convert the uninhabited Bubiyan Island into a new commercial port at a cost of $4.68bn, reports Finance Minister Bader Al-Humaidhi.The aim is to make the port the main facility in the region serving Kuwait, Iran and Iraq.The latter's own ports are unable to accommodate the vast majority of cargo being imported since the overthrow of Saddam Hussain in 2003.

Inauguration of the initial phase is scheduled for 2009.This will have a capacity of 1.3m teu, with other phases due to open through to 2016. The state is to make available $1.035bn to meet infrastructure costs of the container terminal,while $137m in additional equipment costs will be paid for by the concessionaire.The management company will be split between foreign company (30%), Kuwaiti investors (30%) and the rest met through an initial public offering.

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